An arrest for DUI can have serious consequences in North Dakota. You face criminal charges, possible jail time and a license suspension. If convicted, you will have a criminal record, which can cause problems when applying for jobs or looking for housing.
However, getting picked up for DUI does not have to lead to a conviction. You are entitled to a legal defense against the charges. Here are four possible ways to fight a DUI conviction.
Probable cause was lacking
The police officer that pulled you over needed probable cause. Probable cause could be observing you swerving repeatedly or not turning on your headlights at night. However, an officer cannot stop you for DUI just because he or she saw you leave a bar. A law enforcement official also does not have probable cause to pull you over because you are driving home at bar close.
For probable cause, the officer must have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving drunk. If an attorney can prove the officer did not have probable cause, you may be able to get the case against you thrown out.
Breath test was flawed
Failing a breath test does not mean you are doomed for a conviction. If a police officer conducted the test improperly, the results are likely inaccurate. It is also possible the breathalyzer malfunctioned. Even using mouthwash can affect the accuracy of a breathalyzer. A criminal defense attorney can review the officer’s report and may find evidence that your breathalyzer results were inaccurate.
Question the police officer’s credibility
An attorney will cross-examine the officer that arrested you. A good cross-examination may reveal the officer made mistakes or did not follow proper protocol during your arrest. If an attorney can call the officer’s credibility into question, the DUI case against you may crumble.
Field sobriety tests can be in accurate
The three field sobriety tests used by law enforcement are the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test and the stand on one leg test. Even these accepted tests are not always accurate. When conducted correctly, these tests are only accurate 65 to 77 percent of the time. A DUI charge based on failing field sobriety tests can be questioned.
No one wants to get picked up for drunk driving. You can defend yourself against these charges. An attorney may be able to prove probable cause was lacking, the breath test was inaccurate, the arresting officer made a mistake or the field sobriety tests were wrong.